Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Another new Article

I have another article on, this one is on creating a PAC (Proxy Access Control) for use on you network. Read it here

Still on the Cisco ICND course, some of its interesting but I think 5 days is a bit of an overkill, we finished at half 3 today.
Its funny talking to other IT workers from different industries, you get to hear that all the same amusing helpdesk calls you receive are the same everywhere. I cant believe so many people cant remember there bloody names!

Monday, June 25, 2007

Subnet masks (oh what a joy)

This week i'm doing a Cisco CIND course. And on the first day, joy of joys i've been doing subnetting. For those who don't know this means working out the subnet masks and host address ranges for various numbers of subnets or hosts.
Its been a long time since I did any of this and it's no easer than the last time I did it. Why is it less complex to work it out using binary than doing it the easy way using decimals? I think I might just be scared of numbers bigger than 1!

Even though getting my head round some of the maths is tricky, I still think ill get a lot out of the course (most of the Microsoft ones I've done tend to be a bit lacking in practical information), but why is one of the first things the tutors ask is 'are you taking the exam?' Are they all on commission from the vendors? I've never seen the point in taking an exam that will be irrelevant or not recognised by anyone within a couple of years. I suppose it looks good on a cv, but I don't think it makes up for real world knowledge.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

New Beta of SmoothWall

There is a new Beta version of the OpenSource, Linux based firewall available now from

I've been a user of SmoothWall for quite a few years, and this new update looks promising, as its still in beta i'm not really willing to blow my existing firewall away just yet, but ill definitely be upgrading when the production version is released.


A couple of days ago I wrote about Windows Live! writer, I decided to download it today and this post is being written from within it. It does look nicer than the last version, and its support for tags and images is a great improvement. Ill find out in a minute if the formatting stuffs up when I upload it to blogger, that was why I stopped using the last one.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

New version of live writter

Don't know if you have ever used it, but Microsoft wrote a bit of software called Windows Live! Writer (why does half of the products they bring out have Live! in the title?). There's another version (beta 2) that's been released. Read more about it at

I did download the first one, it worked ok but lacked a couple of features, and when I uploaded the postings some of the formatting didn't look correct on Blogger. I might try the new one and see if its any better.

I have got another article up on, its about logging terminal server connections and you can read it in all its glory here

On a completely different topic, if you like a bit of English alt rock music, check out the Pigeon Detectives first album Wait For Me. It's rather good

Monday, June 18, 2007

Problem Starting the Exchange 2003 System Attendant

Had a very odd problem this morning with one of our mail servers, and the guy who normally fixes them is on holiday so it landed in my lap.

The server was rebooted yesterday due to 'problems' (no one could tell me what they were) , and when it came back up none of the exchange services would start, the first error in the system log was:

Error 7000
The Microsoft Exchange System Attendant service failed to start due to the following error: The service did not respond to the start or control request in a timely fashion.

So another very useful Microsoft error to help me. I tried the obvious things like rebooting the global catalogue server, checked the size of the mail store etc but nothing was jumping out at me. The server hadn't had any patch's installed over the last week so I could rule that out.

I found a couple of web sites that said it might be a permissions problem in the registry, but that made no difference. I tried turning on more advanced logging options though the Exchange system manager but that didn't give me much extra info.

I then tried to start the system attendant not through the services, but by running the exe the serviced used, called mad.exe in the exchange\bin folder. Running this finally give me a clue as to what was wrong. I got an error saying it could not run due to address.dll being missing.

I found this file in a couple of places on the server, and tried re-registering it at first but to no avail. Then I copied it into the bin folder where the mad.exe was, and got no error! I then went back into services, and started all the exchange ones and they all came up fine, and users could get at there email again.

I have no idea why this happened, I dont see any reason for the file to be missing, and the fix was less than obvious

Anything Google can do, Microsoft can (try) and do better

I've just been having a play about with Windows live Maps ( At first look it does seem to have some pretty cool functions, such as the ability to install an activeX that gives you a 3D view, and you can rotate round it. This looks very good when viewing hills and large buildings

A lot of the images also seem to be of better quality than Google maps.

Problems do seem to happen when you start looking at different countries other than the US and the UK. I looked a the south of France and there wasn't even any house's being shown. So good features, but a long way to go yet if they want to challenge Google

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Taking a Safari

Well I never thought I'd say this again, but I am quite impressed with Apples Safari browser running on Windows (download

I am writing this post using it right now. It does appear to be far FAR faster than IE6, IE7 and Firefox.I've been to quite a few sites that might tax it, but so far it has performed very well.

It's not all good though, I can make it crash if I try to surf through a proxy that wants me to authenticate. It brings up the login prompt, I enter my details and hit ok but the browser just dies on me.

Also, I can't seam to get into the proxy settings in preferences/advanced. The change settings are greyed out. It looks like it's getting its proxy settings from whatever the default browser is set to.
So if I make Safari the default I can't surf. Plus I think it still might have a problem using an automatic config file (a .pac file). Old Macs used to have this problem (I think), I thought this might have been fixed.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

I'm now classed as a 'freelance' writter

Just a quick post to point you at my first ever article published at, that right people are going to pay me to write articles for there web site. Read the first one at here

I've had a couple of ideas for other articles, if anyone out there has any ideas of things I can write about drop me an email. It doesn't mean ill be stopping writting on this blog, in fact it might mean I write on here more.

Just as another side note, I've started to watch Hero's, its a rather quality show that I suggest you check out